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YMCA in the Sault ceasing operations next month

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The YMCA of Sault Ste. Marie is selling its building and ceasing operations in May.

The YMCA announced the news on its website Tuesday.

“As you may know, like many charities, the YMCA of Sault Ste. Marie has continued to work toward post-pandemic recovery, including critical assessments of the strengths and challenges of our organization,” said the post, signed by interim CEO John Haddock.

“Unfortunately, increased operational costs, coupled with inflation and a slow return to pre-COVID levels of participation, mean that our charity is in a difficult financial position, and we are exploring options to address the challenges we face.”

The organization has hired legal and financial advisers to “assist in next steps including assessing a path forward and we have had to make some operational decisions.”

“This is a tough time for the Y family,” Haddock told CTV News on Wednesday.

“The staff have been remarkable. Remarkably resilient and have been really stellar in managing this whole situation themselves, but also helping others.”

 “The City of Sault Ste. Marie and the YMCA are forming a working group. Our first meeting is April 23, as we’re starting to talk about the future together,” he added.

In addition to selling the McNabb Street property, all programs will cease no later than May 15.

“In terms of our eight YMCA childcare sites, we can say that our funding partners are working on a plan for continuation of service,” the post said.

“Parents and staff will receive frequent updates.”

Childcare sites

The YMCA operates eight childcare sites in the city, with around 140 individual spots. Sault Social Services is working on a plan to absorb those spots.

“Currently, the DSSAB is looking for ways to transition those children into other spots within the system,” said chair Stephanie Hopkin.

“Now, currently, we can’t guarantee to the parents that there will be spots, but we’re working diligently to try to bring those spaces into existing infrastructure in the system right now.” 

Attempts will be made to transfer children at the McNabb Street centre to other spaces. 

“It is expected that this transition will happen over several weeks. Parents and staff will receive frequent updates,” the post said.

Mayor Matthew Shoemaker said the city likely won't step in.

“We have just been through a process where we’ve gotten rid of the McMeeken Centre, which was built in 1965 or so and was over 50 years old,” said Shoemaker.

“We are reticent, I think, to pick up another 60- or 65-year-old building.”

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